Arizona's Caren Teves, whose son was killed in the Aurora slayings, recently invited one of her senators, Republican Jeff Flake, to have dinner in her home so they could better understand one another's views on gun violence. Flake declined, and instead sent Teves a hand-written note -- which later ended up making matters worse.
Soon after, Fran Lynch of North Carolina's Religious Coalition for a Non-Violent Durham invited one of her senators, Republican Richard Burr, to have dinner in her home so they too could have a conversation about "ways to reduce ... instances of gun violence." Burr's scheduler replied that the senator was unavailable -- apparently for the indefinite future.
It seems to be part of a trend.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has turned down a dinner invitation during the congressional recess from a woman whose husband was killed by gun violence.Anne Lyczak lost her husband Richard in January 1994, when he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Portsmouth, N.H.Last week, Lyczak wrote a letter to Ayotte, inviting her to dinner at her house to talk about ways to prevent gun violence.... Lyczak proposed dinner with Ayotte on May 1, although she said she would happily work around the senator's schedule.
And wouldn't you know it, Ayotte is just too busy making up bogus arguments being a senator to accept the dinner invitation.
I like the general idea behind the invitations. Indeed, Beltway pundits keep telling us that a little direct schmoozing can solve practically any problem, so it stands to reason chats over dinner would produce great progress on this and other issues.
But it appears Republican senators are feeling a little shy. I wonder why that is.